A reason why we participate in social networks

According to a research I have conducted, I also tried to figure out how and why individuals take part in social networks such as facebook. A concept that might be able to find hints of why people participate is the so called self-concept. In general the self-concepts tries to provide an explanation regarding the personal traits a person possess. Contrary to concept if identity, which describes who you or a person really is, the self-concept pursues the question how you or a person is or rather which traits the person beliefs to possess. 

The self-image as a key factor

Due to the varying situation based behavior of individuals it is assumed that several self-concepts exist rather than only one. That is to say, individuals behave quite differently in different situations because they put an emphasis to a certain set of personality traits. Thus it is possible, that a person might behave more formal while talking to his boss than behaving in a less formal manner among his friends or family. To wrap that up, we think of or see ourselves equipped with different traits and we act within varying roles. 

Besides of having several ways to consider yourself, as we know it’s known as self-concept, there are four main self-images to include. 

One self-image is named the actual self-image, which describes all the personality traits you really have got. So that is the way you see yourself on a rational based point of view. Maybe you consider yourself an intrinsic or extrinsic person.

Different perspectives of the self-image

According to that, there is the ideal self-image, which can be described as the way someone would like to be seen by himself. Thus, it is more like a desired image of yourself – how you would like to be. So for example, if you are an intrinsic person, you might look for ways to strengthen yourself in order to be more outer directed. 

The third is called social self-image, which is a person’s believed self-image of how others, the society, perceive the person. It is sort of obvious that sometimes the evaluation of others opinion about the person can be misleading. This is due to the fact, that we can’t read thoughts and that people behave in certain roles. The other way around we can hide feelings and adjust our behavior in a way, that others perceive us as a different person. 

The last of the four self-images is the ideal social self-image, which basically stands for the desire of how others should perceive the person. In general people intend to be liked by others because the feeling of no acceptance among a group is qualified to cause feelings of frustration. Hence people want to be seen in a certain way by others but sometimes it is only a desired self-image. 

Platforms fit to our self-image

To summarize it is to say, that individuals have got certain traits, that they are able to perceive their own traits and that they have got a desired set of traits. According to the topic of social networks it is important to mention, that these web 2.0 platforms provide functions to influence the perception of others about the persons self-concept. Thus they can easily publish a profile that is related to their ideal self-image and ideal social self-image. It can be assumed, that this might be a striking reasons for many people to participate in social networks.